Profile – Xin Zhang

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Xin Zhang

Job Title:

Assistant Professor


Phone Number:



Xin Zhang is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The goal of Xin’s current research is to evaluate how socioeconomic and biogeochemical processes affect the global nitrogen cycle and, in turn, provide policy input on mitigating nitrogen pollution while meeting global food and biofuel demands. Xin’s research approaches are from both natural science, including the Earth System Model and atmospheric measurements, and social science, such as econometrics analysis. Collaborating closely with economists, modelers, and field experimentalists from US (e.g., Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory), France (e.g., CIRED laboratory), and China (e.g., China Agricultural University), Xin has published papers on various peer-reviewed journals, including Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and have received research grants from multiple institutions, including Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.

Xin received a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.S. in Computer Science from Ocean University of China (OUC), an M.A. in Environmental Science from Peking University (2007), and a Ph.D. from Yale University (2012). In addition to the academic education, she has completed internships and projects at various national and international organizations, including the United Nations and China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Research Areas:

  • Nitrogen management in crop production
  • Nitrogen use efficiency
  • Modeling nitrogen and carbon cycle
  • Sustainable agriculture

Current N-related Projects:

  • Managing Phosphorus for Sustainable Development (OCP Research, LLC, 2016-2018)
  • Developing a Sustainable Agriculture Matrix on a National Scale (The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, 2016-2017)


–        X Zhang (2017) A plan for efficient use of nitrogen fertilizersNature, 543:322-323. link

–        X Zhang, EA Davidson, DL Mauzerall, TD Searchinger, P Dumas, Y Shen (2015) Managing Nitrogen for Sustainable DevelopmentNature, 528:51-59, doi: 10.1038/nature15743. link

–        D Kanter, X Zhang, DL Mauzerall, S Malyshev, E Shevliakova (accepted) The importance of climate change and nitrogen use efficiency for future nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture, Environmental Research Letters.

–         X Zhang, DL Mauzerall, EA Davidson, DR Kanter, RH Cai (2015) The economic and environmental consequences of implementing nitrogen-efficient technologies and management practices in agriculture, Journal of Environmental Quality, doi:10.2134/jeq2014.03.0129. preprint Supplementary Materials

–         X Zhang, XH Lee, TJ Griffis, JM Baker, W Xiao (2014) Estimating regional greenhouse gas fluxes: An uncertainty analysis of planetary boundary layer techniques and bottom-up inventories, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14: 10705–10719, doi:10.5194/acp-14-10705-2014.  reprint

–         DR Kanter, X Zhang, DL Mauzerall (2014) Reducing nitrogen pollution while decreasing farmers’ costs and increasing fertilizer industry profits, Journal of Environmental Quality, doi:10.2134/jeq2014.04.0173. preprint

–         X Zhang, XH Lee, TJ Griffis, JM Baker, M Erickson, J Fasbinder, W Xiao, N Hu (2014) Quantifying nitrous oxide fluxes on multiple spatial scales in the Upper Midwest, USAInternational Journal of Biometeorology,  doi:10.1007/s00484-014-0842-4. reprint

–         RH Cai, X Zhang, DR Kanter (2014) The impact of crop price on nitrous oxide emissions: A dynamic programming approach, An Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) selected paper accepted for presentation at AAEA Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, July 27-29, 2014. preprint

–         TJ Griffis, XH Lee, JM Baker, MP Russelle, X Zhang, R Venterea, DB Millet (2013) Reconciling the differences between top-down and bottom-up estimates of nitrous oxide emissions for the US Corn Belt, Global biogeochemical cycles, doi: 10.1002/gbc.20066. reprint